Our Dream ~ a Robust and Sustainable American Democracy

August 9, 2012


Like most Americans, I have a dream.

I dream of a democracy that is both resilient and sustainable, with free and fair elections, well-intentioned, well-informed representatives who have a strong moral compass and are guided by the best interests of the American people.

Historically, America had always been a deeply divided country, with many strong, often opposing opinions about almost everything.

But when it comes to living in a civil society, we all want the same thing: a system that is able to reliably provide the necessities of normal life, such as living indoors, electricity, running water, breathable air, a successful economy, groceries, healthcare, reasonable public safety and perhaps most important in the 21st century — dependable WiFi. But whatever our political affiliation, I’m certain the great majority of Americans share my dream of a functioning democracy.

However, our super-sized version of partisan politics focuses almost exclusively on elections – raising money and conducting election campaigns. As soon as the election is over, its minions begin planning re-election campaigns for the winners.

Gaining and Retaining Political Power

As a result, the American public – We, The People – no longer have any opportunity for a ‘normal’ relationship with our democratic government, as there is no role for ordinary people other than just “SEND US YOUR MONEY!” During the last several decades, election campaigns have become longer and longer, having morphed into a full-time, non-stop partisan process-in-perpetuity.

The electioneering tail is now wagging the dog.

The contentious and divisive campaign process that used occupied our television sets for just a few months once every four years has instead become a permanent all-pervasive feature of public life that goes on around the clock, every year, all year long. Less than 12 hours after a national election, the in-box of my email is being filled up by newly elected politicians, pleading for campaign contributions, each with some version of a “hair-on-fire” story to pointing out how critically important my campaign contribution was so they could ‘get the jump’ on their evil opponents.

Politically active people find themselves a political ‘dead-zone’; the Theory of Diminishing Returns has taken over our political system so that large amounts of effort (time and money) yield very little in return. While working harder and harder, we find ourselves either standing still or losing ground.

There must be a better way for Americans to experience and express their support for our representative democracy.

So I am proposing a totally preposterous new idea — an inclusive, non-electoral and non-partisan political coalition built on the idea of a robust participatory democracy that puts principles before policy and defines citizen participation as a present-tense active VERB.

We, The People would include Republicans, Democrats, Independents, third-parties (Libertarians, Greens, etc), as well as the politically disinterested, and those who could not or did not vote for whatever reason.

In this kind of participatory democracy, the activities of citizens would first and foremost apply to our local communities, and only then go up the chain to regional, state and finally federal level.

‘People Farming’ ~ a new idea for being politically effective

Lady Liberty_2009I am suggesting that we reclaim our American democracy at the level of average Americans who are individually committed to helping our country and one another to thrive. The maximum “We all do better when we all do better” is spot on. [1]

Participatory democracy is based on garden-variety common sense and ordinary nonpartisan values that most of us experience on a daily basis. It includes a pattern of regular participation in acts of good citizenship in both big and little ways that are compatible with our values and the realistic demands of our families, our jobs and our personal life.

Participatory democracy acknowledges the value of ‘seasons’ — a time to prepare, a time to plant, yet another to harvest, and a time for each of us as individuals to sit back and enjoy a whole season to ourselves. Citizenship as an active verb provides us with the opportunity to become ‘people farmers’, personally tending to the garden of democracy that we find in our neighborhood. As political ‘gardeners’, we can personally help our country be a place that makes us all proud to be Americans and part of a vibrant global economy.

Link ~ A little background about me

Next post ~ David Brooks ~ Traditional Conservatism: a democratic foundation for civic responsibility

Roger 🙂

^O^ –> link to the Art & Science of Modern Midwifery in California, posted February 14th, 2018 ~ tinyurl.com/ybvde6cx